A Catholic charity is sending food, blankets and medicine to help Syrians fleeing their country's ongoing civil conflict cope with the harsh winter.
Aid to the Church in Need has approved an initial aid package of £130,500 - one of its biggest ever grants - to provide for displaced people in Syria and refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. The aid will be distributed through parishes and dioceses.
A spokesman for the charity said Christians in Syria were turning to the Church because they are reluctant to approach large international charities for help for fear of being associated with Western governments by Islamist factions within the opposition movement.
ACN Middle East projects coordinator Fr Andrzej Halemba described the situation as "increasingly critical" and said the charity would be offering religious as well as practical support.
The United Nations says 700,000 Syrians have officially fled the country for neighbouring countries, up from 500,000 in December.
Above: A Syrian woman refugee carries her child at a camp near the Turkish town of Kilis. Photo: CNS/Muzaffar Salman, Reuters